Monday, August 8, 2011

Ironman Regensburg 2011

Well folks it's official, I'm an "Ironman"  I completed Ironman Regensburg yesterday in 14hrs 57min 45secs, not as fast as I wanted but under the 16 hour cutoff.  Before I get into the race day story let me give you a little background.
Most of you know that I redeployed from Afcrackistan on 27 May.  I really ramped up my training once I returned and I was posting all about it. That all kind of went to hell around 13 July, that when, if you noticed, I stopped really posting about my training, all you got were beer posts that I had scheduled to post in advance. 
On July 13 Shantel and I welcomed our second son Maddox James, so that week's training was shot.  I got back on track for the most part the next week only to have my Mom and Stepdad arrive for their visit the Friday before race.  No issues there it was taper week anyway and I really enjoyed playing tour guide all around southern Germany and the Czech Republic for them. 
So if you really look at I only had 10 weeks to prep, 1 of which was lost for the birth of our son, and the other was a taper week.  That's 8 weeks of training to do 140.6 miles in under 16 hours.  I don't want to hear any excuses from anyone about how hard an Ironman is to complete.  It's not easy but if I can do it with only 8 weeks of real training than a normal person should be able to get off the couch, get a plan and finish one.

Now for the race day story.
Forcast for race day: 55-60 degrees with rain showers all day.  I got my hopes up at 4:30am when it wasn't raining as we went out to the car to drive to the swim start.  I was thinking that the forcasted rain today would be like the forcasted rain all week; just a figment of the meterologists imagination.  My hopes were dashed as we were waiting for the shuttle bus to take us from the parking area to the swim start when it started pouring and kept pouring and kept pouring.  It rained off and on all day until the run portion when there was still some scattered drizzling.
The swim start went off right at 7am and it was asses and elbows as 2500+ particpants did one mass start into the lake and I was right in the middle of it.  Things spread out eventually as all of the "fish" left me behind.  I spent most of the swim with several other blue capped men and a couple of orange capped women and I just tried to keep up with them, keep a steady pace and not stray too far from the bouy line.  I succeeded for the most part and came out of the swim with a time of 1hr 46 minutes.  Faster than anything I'd done in training.
The bike was wet, wet, wet.  I was wearing a a sleeveless tri jersey and I was wishing for some arm warmers or a long sleeve jersey.  I drove on though and I really enjoyed the ride through the Bavarian countryside.  Despite the weather the bike course was lined with Bavarians out having a good time cheering on the bikers, cooking out and of course, drinking beer.  I couldn't believe it, but it's not like a Bavarian to turn down an excuse to party.  I finished up the bike portion with a time of 7 hours and change.  What do you know, I'm about 20 minutes ahead of the pace I wanted to keep.
I started the run with 7 hours to go until cutoff time.  Piece of cake I thought.  Yeah right.  I'd had high hopes for the run since that was really the only event that I had trained for while in Afcrackistan putting in several 15+ mile runs and I'd had several good training runs in the weeks prior to the race.  Well the first lap went pretty good with about a 12 minute a mile average and a couple under 12 minutes, but I was fading, not fast but I know me and I realized that any hopes of a sub 13 minute average was slipping.  Lap 2 was decent with a couple of good miles but the monkey was on the horizon and he showed up for good on lap three where the average jumped from around 12:30 to almost 14 minutes.  Lap 4 I decided to make my victory lap, the pace was a shuffle at around a 15 minute average, but I knew that at even that pace I was in no danger of missing the cutoff.  Why push hard when I'm not in contention for a Kona slot and the only goals I had were to finish and not finish last in my age group?  I crossed the finish line at 14hrs 57min 45secs.  Not stellar but I accomplished my goals and I FINISHED!!! My run split was a 5hr 55min and change.
Overall the race experience was great.  Great volunteers, Great spectators, Great racers.  I chatted up racers from the US, Great Britain, Poland, Germany, Italy, and Canada, everyone was mutually supportive and made the race experience so much better.
I feel good today, not great just good.  This may have been my only Ironman distance race.  I don't know.  I know that my friend Andy will probably try and twist my arm into doing an Ironman race next summer, we'll just have to see.  I'm really comfortable with the half Ironman races and I think that is where I will probably concentrate my efforts, you never know though, I may have to stretch my limits again.
I'd like to thank my Mom and Hugh for being my Ironman Support Crew.  They were there for the start and for every transition and Hugh took plenty of pictures which I'll post later.  They rang cow bells and kept me going.  Thanks guys. 

Finally I'd like to thank Shantel.  This was the ony race she's missed since we've been together, she stayed home with Macen and Maddox,and she hated it but she was glued to watching my splits and tracking my progress at home.  She was even worried when my last run split didn't get posted and was really relieved when I called to tell her that I was done.  Thanks babe, I couldn't of done it without you letting me out of the house for those long rides and runs.  I love you.


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